Can Divorce Lawyers Take Payments?

Updated on March 29, 2021
Updated: October 15, 2022

Divorce is a devastating experience to go through, and the financial aspect can only add to the stress. Attorney fees, court fees, and expert consultation fees can pile up quickly, bringing the cost of your divorce to thousands of dollars. 

If you’re going through a contested divorce, you may also need to also child support, alimony, and real estate evaluators, financial planners, accountants, and other financial experts. Further, you may need to think about where you will live after your divorce is finalized, and how you’ll pay for the entire divorce process. Many people wonder how they will afford a divorce and if divorce lawyers take payments for their services.

Do Divorce Lawyers Take Payments or Use Payment Plans?

A divorce can be difficult to navigate with no legal representation. Often, family law attorneys charge hefty fees for their legal service, especially if it includes representing you in a trial. Luckily, some family lawyers offer payment plans.

Thus, it’s essential to speak with the divorce lawyer you’re interested in working with and discuss your legal costs. Your divorce attorney may be willing to accommodate you and structure a payment plan that’s perfect for you. Your family lawyer may ask you to pay the initial retainer fee first, after which you’ll pay in monthly payments.

Although some attorneys may charge extra fees or interest, a payment plan can still be a less-expensive way to afford legal representation. While a lawyer payment plan doesn’t require a credit check, it’s great if you have a less-than-stellar credit score.

Other common options to pay for your divorce include:

  • Get a court order. A family law judge can order your spouse to advance your attorney fees or reimburse them, especially if your spouse’s income is more than yours, or if your partner is being uncooperative and delaying the divorce process. If you feel you have a strong legal case, it’s essential to consider this option, especially if you can’t afford to hire an attorney. Rules for awarding lawyer fees vary from state to state; thus, you must consult with a family law attorney before asking the family court to award your legal expenses.
  • Create and keep a budget. Having a budget is crucial at every stage in life, especially during the divorce process. A budget helps you track your expenses and resources now that you’ll be living on one income. Also, it helps you cut costs and develop a strategy to finance your divorce. Regardless if you’re borrowing money or taking a loan to finance your divorce or have a payment plan, having a budget can help you track your payments. There are budgeting methods to choose from, but each one will help you identify your income and expenses, set financial goals, and keep track of your spending. While it might not sound that exciting, creating a budget can make the divorce process less stressful, especially the financial aspect.

Related: what fees are involved in a Divorce?

What if I Can't Afford a Lawyer for My Divorce?

Getting a divorce is one of the most difficult and expensive experiences you’ll go through in your life. Like other serious matters, it’s best to hire an expert to guide you and represent you in court if necessary. But what should you do if you can’t afford legal counsel?

  • Get a pro bono lawyer. Most people will tell that if you can’t afford to hire a divorce attorney, to find a pro bono attorney. A pro bono lawyer will represent you charging no legal fees. However, one of the biggest problems with this legal option is that most divorce lawyers don’t work for free. Although many divorce attorneys are willing to offer pro bono legal services for simple family matters, divorce is time-consuming and complicated. Thus, it’s not beneficial for divorce lawyers to take on divorce cases for free. A good place to find a pro bono lawyer is by contacting Legal Aid in your county. However, they have limited resources. Thus, they may have a long waitlist to offer free legal representation. To qualify for this legal help you must meet certain income requirements, and if your income is more than that threshold you’ll be ineligible for the service.
  • Get a court-appointed divorce lawyer. If you can't afford a divorce lawyer, and your divorce case involves child custody, visitation, or order or protection issues, you may ask the family law judge in your case to assign you an attorney free of charge. However, this free attorney will only handle custody/visitation or order of protection matters, and you’ll need to represent yourself in other family law matters, such as property division. However. There’s an income threshold and you must provide financial proof to qualify for a court-appointed lawyer.
  • Self-representation. If none of the above options work for you, you have no option but to represent yourself. If you’re filing for an uncontested divorce, because you and your spouse agree on all divorce terms, then you can go ahead with the divorce process without the help of an experienced family law attorney. Also, most divorce attorneys offer a free initial consultation where they can go over your case and advise on the legal options you have and how to move forward. Further, you can contact self-service divorce centers in your county for legal advice on how to proceed with your case.
Payment for divorce lawyer services

Divorce can be a complicated process, especially if you and your spouse have children, marital property, own a business, or have a retirement fund or pension. To get the best outcome, you need the help of an experienced lawyer. Thus, try to hire one.

Although our reputation for excellence and extensive experience with divorce cases may bring you to our law offices, it’s our commitment and personalized service that’ll keep you as a client and have you referring your friends and family to us. Our Orland Park divorce lawyers will keep you well-informed throughout the entire legal process. We’ll take time to listen to your situation and explain family law and the legal process to you. Our legal team is ready to answer all your questions and will analyze your objections and your situation to provide you with an honest assessment of your divorce.

At Tommalieh Law, our experienced family law attorneys can help you move forward professionally and efficiently. If you’re looking to discuss your legal options, we can help you. Call us today at (708) 232-0017, or chat with us online to schedule your free no-cost initial consultation. 

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